The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and political organization of eight countries in Southern Asia. In terms of population, its sphere of influence is the largest of any regional organization: almost 1.5 billion people, the combined population of its member states. In 1980, Bangladesh President Ziaur Rahman proposed the creation of a trade bloc consisting of South Asian countries. The Bangladeshi proposal was accepted by India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka during a meeting held in Colombo in 1981. In August 1983, the leaders adopted the Declaration on South Asian Regional Cooperation during a summit which was held in New Delhi. The seven South Asian countries, which also included Nepal, Maldives and Bhutan, agreed on five areas of cooperation:
- Agriculture and Rural Development
- Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Meteorology
- Health and Population Activities
- Human Resource Development
Afghanistan was added to the regional grouping at the behest of India on November 13, 2005, With the addition of Afghanistan, the total number of member states were raised to eight (8). The People's Republic of China, the European Union, the United States of America, South Korea, Iran, Myanmar, Australia, and Mauritus are observers to SAARC. (more)
The economy of India is the fourth-largest in the world as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), with a GDP of $3.3 trillion. When measured in USD exchange rates it is the tenth largest in the world, with a GDP of $691.8 billion. However India's huge population results in a relatively low per capita income ($3,100 at PPP). Services are the major source of economic growth in India today, though two-thirds of Indian workforce earn their livelihood directly or indirectly through agriculture. In recent times, India has also capitalised on its large number of highly-educated populace fluent in the English language to become a major exporter of software services, financial services and software engineers. For most of India's independent history, a socialist inspired approach was adhered to, with strict government control and regulation on private sector participation, foreign trade and foreign direct investment. Since the early 1990s, India has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment. The socio-economic problems India faces are the burgeoning population, growing inequality, lack of infrastructure, growing unemployment and growing poverty. (more...)
Did you know
- ...that Ram Shastri, a celebrated 18th-century judge in the Maratha Empire, created judicial history in India by sentencing the incumbent Peshwa (de facto ruler) to death on a charge of murder?
- ...that Neolithic tools found in the Kathmandu Valley indicate that people have been living in the Himalayan region for at least nine thousand years?
Selected Member Country
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka (Sinhalese: , Tamil: இலங்கை; known as Ceylon before 1972) is an island nation in South Asia, located about 31 kilometers (18½ mi) off the southern coast of India. Originally known as Heladiva, it is home to around twenty million people.
Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between West Asia and South East Asia and has been a centre of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Today, Sri Lanka is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation, with a fifth of the population following faiths other than Buddhism - notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population (around 80%), with Tamils, who are mostly concentrated in the north and east of the island, forming the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include the Muslim Moors and Malays as well as Burghers.
Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, rubber and coconuts, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage make it a world famous tourist destination.
After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before the control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. During World War II Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire. A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century, with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948. Since then Sri Lanka has struggled in maintaining a liberal democracy and stunted economic progress due to the ongoing conflict between the Sri Lankan government and a separatist militant group known as the Tamil Tigers in the northeastern parts of the country.
At a glance
This map shows the Geologic - Tectonic map of the Himalaya, modified after Le Fort (1988).
Map credit: Pierre Dèzes 1999, "Tectonic and metamorphic Evolution of the Central Himalayan Domain in Southeast Zanskar (Kashmir, India)".
Satyajit Ray (Bengali: সত্যজিত রায় Shottojit Rae (help·info)) (May 2, 1921–April 23, 1992) was an Indian filmmaker. Born in the city of Kolkata (then Calcutta) into a Bengali family prominent in the world of arts and letters, Ray studied at Presidency College and at the Visva-Bharati University, at the poet Rabindranath Tagore's Santiniketan. Starting his career as a commercial artist, Ray was drawn into filmmaking after meeting French filmmaker Jean Renoir and viewing the Italian neorealist film Bicycle Thieves during a visit to London.
Ray directed thirty-seven films, including feature films, documentaries and shorts. Ray's first film, Pather Panchali, won eleven international prizes, including Best Human Document at Cannes. Along with Aparajito and Apur Sansar, the film forms the Apu trilogy. Ray worked on an array of tasks, including scripting, casting, scoring, cinematography, art direction, editing and designing his own credit titles and publicity material. Apart from making films, he was a fiction writer, publisher, illustrator, graphic designer and film critic. Ray received many major awards in his career, including an Academy Honorary Award in 1992. (more...)
Wikipedia in South Asian Languages
, former English: Caubul
), is the capital
and largest city of Afghanistan
, with population of about 3 million people. It is an economic and cultural center, situated 5,900 feet (1,800 m) above-sea-level in a narrow valley, wedged between the Hindu Kush
mountains along the Kabul River
. Kabul is linked with Ghazni
and Mazari Sharif
via a long beltway (circular highway) that stretches across the country. It is also linked by highways with Pakistan
to the southeast and Tajikistan
to the north. Kabul's main products include munitions
, and beet sugar
, though, since 1978
, a state of nearly continuous war has limited the economic productivity of the city.
Kabul is over 3,000 years old. Many empires long fought over the city, due to its strategic location along the trade routes of Southern and Central Asia. In 1504, Babur captured Kabul and made the city his headquarters. Finally, in 1776, Timur Shah Durrani made it the capital of modern Afghanistan. The population of the city is multi-cultural and multi-ethnic, reflecting the diversity of the entire country.
Kabul was captured by the Taliban in September of 1996. Approximately five years later, in October 2001, the United States invaded Afghanistan. The Taliban abandoned Kabul in the following months due to extensive American bombing, while the Afghan Northern Alliance (former mujahideen or millias) came to retake control of the city. On December 20, 2001, Kabul became the capital of the Afghan Transitional Administration, which transformed to the present government of Afghanistan that is led by US-backed President Hamid Karzai. Since the beginning of 2003, the city is slowly developing with the help of foreign investment. Security is also improving by the year, despite the occasional attacks on government forces.(more)